reach for my phone, and type up the details and images before they slip away.
When I start to flesh out my note fragments and the idea begins to expand and take shape, the first question I try to answer is this --
What is it?
That is, what is the best format for telling this story? Because every idea has multiple possibilities for execution - a play, a film, a webseries, etc. But there's usually one format that will really make the idea sing.
Asking this question is useful, because you don't waste time trying to shove a square peg into a round hole.
Years ago, I wrote a synopsis for a graphic novel that I later turned into my very first TV pilot script. It was too serialized to be a useful sample during that era of procedural television, so I put it in a drawer.
But trends in television change fast and now everyone is buying serialized pilot ideas. So I dug up that old pilot to see if I could rework it into a fresh, serialized concept.
Again, I went back to that question - what is it? How does this story want to be told? Could I make it into a compelling series, or would it be better as a graphic novel as I'd originally envisioned?
After two weeks of beating out character wants and plot twists, I had my answer --
So if you find yourself struggling to make a screenplay or stage play or piece of fiction work, ask yourself if the story could also be told in a different format. Because a change of format may be just what your idea needs to come to life.